Many companies increase their clients and profits merely by shifting their focus from trying to make a huge profit on the acquisition of a new client to making their real profit on all the repeat purchases that result from those new clients.
Knowing how much a client will spend with you over a period of years tells you how much you can spend on the process of acquiring a client. The most profitable thing you’ll ever do for your business or career is to understand and ethically exploit the marginal net worth of a client.
What is the current lifetime value of one of your clients? It’s the total profit of an average client over the lifetime of his or her patronage—including all residual sales—less all advertising, marketing, and incremental product or service-fulfillment expenses.
If you haven’t calculated your clients’ marginal net worth yet, here’s how to do it:
1. Compute your average sale and your profit per sale.
2. Compute how much additional profit a client is worth to you by determining how many times he or she comes back.
3. Compute precisely what a client costs by dividing the marketing budget by the number of clients it produces.
4. Compute the cost of a prospect the same way.
5. Compute how many sales you get for so many prospects (the percentage of prospects who become clients).
6. Compute the marginal net worth of a client by subtracting the cost to produce (or convert) the client from the profit you expect to earn from the client over the lifetime of his or her patronage.
Once you’ve calculated the lifetime value of a client, you have many ways to accomplish your break-even objective. Remember, the goal isn’t just to cut the price of the first purchase. The goal is to make that first purchase so much more appealing that people find it harder to say no than yes . . . please!
While reducing the price of your product or service is the most common and obvious way to get the first sale, there are other powerful ways to obtain first-time buyers. For example, you can calculate your allowable marketing or selling cost, which is how much money you’re willing to either spend or forgo receiving (by reducing the selling price), in order to make that very first purchase more appealing to a prospective client.
Let’s say your product or service sells for $200 and your cost is $100. Also assume your average client repurchases several times a year for several years and you will realize a good long-term profit. Obviously you can reduce your price by $100 on the first sale to reach a break-even point and gain a new client. But you could put that $100 to a number of other uses. You could keep the price at $200 and use the $100 as “spiff” or extra selling incentives to your salespeople. Giving salespeople greater financial incentive to bring in new, first-time clients can produce tremendous results in the right situation. You could also use that same $100 to buy more of your product or service. So you still charge the full $200, but you give prospects twice the quantity on the first purchase.
Or you could take the $100 and use it to buy other complementary products or services (at wholesale) to package and add to your product or service without raising the $200 price—so the value of your offer becomes far greater and thus more attractive. Or you could use that $100 to invest in advertising, sales letters, additional salespeople, free seminars, or any other marketing and selling programs. Or you could rent promotional space in someone’s store or trade-show booth and pay them the $100 for every new client you gain through their facility. The only limitation you have on how to use your allowable marketing or selling cost to help you strategically break even on the initial sale is that it must be ethical and legal. And after testing it out it must be economically viable in the long term.
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham